Innovator Spotlight: Peace Tree Farm
Lloyd Traven, president and co-founder of Peace Tree Farm has always investigated and invested in technology to improve efficiency in horticulture, from watering automation based on vapor-pressure deficit (VPD) to lighting controls synchronized daily with the sunrise/sunset. “We had some areas of the greenhouse equipped with HPS. What we figured would improve our basil production actually made it worse,” said Lloyd. He found inconsistencies in production as well as structurally weak plants which were unacceptable to sell. “We simply didn’t have the light levels we require to create a beautiful, retail-ready produce. So we had to completely redo our lighting, which is why we went to Fluence and we’ll never go back to HPS.”
Growing in the Northeast with variances in natural light levels, Lloyd and Alex knew supplemental lighting is the key to consistent, year-round production. HPS did not provide the necessary spectrum and light levels and was maximizing Peace Tree Farm’s power amperage. According to Lloyd, “since switching over to the Fluence lighting, we are getting over three times the light level in the same area, we are doing it with less electricity, the benches are the same from end-to-end and side-to-side, the plants are short and stout and sturdy, and they don’t fall apart when you pull them to ship. We ship virtually every plant. It has cut our losses by 40 percent.” Not only are they able to produce a more consistent product, but now they know exactly how much product they are able to ship to fill the year-round orders.
Peace Tree Farm is a USDA Organic Certified farm and has always integrated sustainable techniques, such as using softer chemicals and beneficial insects, in their greenhouses. By deploying Fluence LED lighting, Peace Tree Farm not only uses less electricity, but they also qualify for local utility rebates. According to Alex, “It has been awesome to have these full spectrum bright lights, it provides a great work environment and replicates what you see under natural light really well. Especially in the winter months, we’ve been able to cut weeks of crop time off of production.”